At six o’clock this morning, local time, Pope Francis named Bishop Bernard A. Hebda the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Archbishop Hebda has been serving St. Paul and Minneapolis for several months as administrator following the resignation of Archbishop John Neinstedt last summer.
This appointment surprises some for two reasons: 1. The day of its announcement. To announce such an appointment on a day of the Triduum is very rare; 2. Archbishop Hebda had been the coadjutor bishop Newark for a few years and was widely expected to return there to assume responsibility for that diocese this summer.
It has been told to me by several people in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that Hebda has been well received and doing much to heal the wounds that exist there following the bankruptcy of the archdiocese largely due to law suits arising from clergy sexual abuse claims.
We all hope for true and lasting healing for everyone in the archdiocese, and we offer our congratulations on their new archbishop!
Here is a brief biography of the new archbishop, courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis website.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda
The son of Bernard and the late Helen Clark Hebda, the Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda was born on September 3, 1959 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Bernard Hebda attended Resurrection Elementary School in Brookline, PA, and then graduated from South Hills Catholic High School in Pittsburgh in 1977. He continued his education at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980 followed by a juris doctor degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1983. He was admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1983 and worked as an associate in the law firm of Reed, Smith, Shaw and McClay.
In 1984, he enrolled at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh and pursued the required studies in philosophy at Duquesne University before being sent to North American College in Rome in 1985 where he completed his theological studies and earned his S.T.B. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1989.
He was ordained a deacon on April 6, 1989 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Archbishop John Quinn, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Donald W. Wuerl on July 1, 1989 in St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh. After his ordination, he served briefly as Parochial Vicar Pro Tem at Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Elwood City, PA, before returning to Rome to complete his licentiate in canon law, which he received in 1990 from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Upon returning from Pittsburgh, Fr. Hebda served in the bishop’s office as Master of Ceremonies from 1990-1992, in team ministry at Prince of Peace Parish on Pittsburgh’s South Side from 1992-1995, and as director of campus ministry at the Slippery Rock University Newman Center from 1995-1996. He also served on the Canonical Advisory Council, the Priest Council and the Priest Personnel Board of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In 1996, he was appointed to work in the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in Rome, which is responsible for the interpretation of the Church’s laws, especially the Code of Canon Law. In 2003, St. John Paul II named him Undersecretary of the Council.
While in Rome, he also served as an adjunct spiritual director at the North American College and as a confessor for the postulants of the Missionaries of Charity (founded by Blessed Mother Teresa) and for the Sisters of that community working at a home for unwed mothers.
He was named Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord on October 7, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. His Episcopal ordination took place on December 1, 2009. Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron was the Principal Consecrator, with Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio and Bishop Patrick R. Cooney as co-consecrators.
On September 24, 2013, Pope Francis named Bishop Hebda Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark.
On June 15, 2015, Pope Francis named him Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.